Cherie Blair Fights for Landlords’ Human Rights

Cherie Blair is heading a legal campaign to try and force George Osborne to back down on his proposed tax changes. If the changes go ahead without any opposition, from 2017 landlords will no longer be able to deduct mortgage interest costs from their taxable profits. This will effectively halve the amount of tax relief higher rate tax payers like the Blairs can claim. In the Chancellor’s view, this will “level the playing field”, but to everyone else, the changes are likely to prove disastrous.

Omnia Strategy Takes the Case
Mrs Blair’s law firm, Omnia Strategy, has taken up the legal gauntlet and now represents 737 landlords and letting agents. The legal argument put forward by Mrs Blair’s legal firm is that George Osborne’s tax plan “discriminates against individual buy-to-let investors by denying them the same rights as other business owners.” Apparently she believes that the firm has a reasonable chance of winning the case.

Not surprisingly, Mrs Blair isn’t doing this out of the kindness of her heart – rather, as a landlord herself, her campaign is motivated by a healthy dose of self-interest. The Blair family own a not insignificant buy-to-let property empire and the planned changes to the landlord tax system will lead to them having a far higher tax bill. There is also the issue of political ‘point scoring’ if the Blair legal campaign is successful.

NLA Predicts Huge Sell Off
Confidence in buy to let has fallen off a cliff in the wake of the Chancellor’s announcement and the NLA estimates half a million homes could be dumped onto the market in the next year.

Are you planning on selling up? If so, let us know in the comments.

Check the safety of that portable electrical device


Residential landlords provide tenants with any number of portable electrical devices in their tenancy contract. They need to check for its safety as per the law. It is advisable to conduct regular safety checks on appliances which become part of the rental agreements.

This is because the landlord can be held responsible in the face of an injury by way of an electric shock or if the appliances become defective. The UK is no stranger to fires caused by electrical devices. Close to 20 percent of these are caused by faulty electric equipments that end up in a short circuit. Government statistics suggests that more than 14,000 Britons suffer varying degrees of injuries due to problems with their electrical appliances.

The UK’s Electrical Safety Council has issued that we will be held responsible if tenants are injured due to defective appliances found in the rental properties.

It can prove costly for us as such injuries can mean rejection of insurance policy, apart from the major fines and criminal prosecution. The best way to avoid this mess is to sign the portable appliance testing (PAT) at regular intervals. This inexpensive testing can be done using dedicated testing equipment. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Landlords need to watch out for tenants’ criminal convictions


Now criminal convictions of tenants can have serious consequences for a landlord’s insurance cover.

7.3 million people with criminal convictions are present in the UK and many likely to be the tenant population. Undeclared unspent convictions have the potential to be material facts in the assessment of risk resulting in invalidated insurance cover, if the crime has any relevance to the policy risk.

This is because insurance contracts are based on the principle of ‘uberrima fides’ (utmost good faith) on both parties involved in the contract. So the duty of full disclosure lies with the landlord who is the policy holder.

There is lot of uncertainty and confusion among landlords. So, what can we do as landlords? Do we ask the question in the tenancy application form, include a disclosure clause in the tenancy agreement, or just simply ignore it?

Some smart home insurers have an outright policy of not insuring people with unspent criminal convictions; irrespective of the relevance.

I feel this has stirred up quite a hornet’s nest. One has to decide between actively seeking the information from the tenant and thereby getting the insurers remove to the cover or just ignoring the issue.

More clarification is needed from the insurers to prevent landlords being effectively uninsured.

Travelling Expenses

Directors may incur expenses when on the company’s business. Most travelling expenses involve the cost of running a car.

It used to be a good tax planning idea to have the company own a car and allow the director to use it for both business and private purposes, as the rules for taxing directors on their private use of a company car were very generous.
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Property Tax Tip for Landlords

Moving Properties into Joint Ownership to Avoid Income Tax

Because you can save tax by holding your property in a partnership, you may well be thinking about how to transfer to joint ownership.

It is actually very easy to do and you will incur no capital gains tax liability if you are transferring part ownership to your spouse, i.e., your husband or wife.

PLEASE NOTE: if part ownership of the property is to be transferred to anyone other than your spouse, there may be a capital gains tax liability triggered.
Three Simple Steps to Follow
The following three steps will show you how you can transfer the property into joint ownership.

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We’ve been rebranded!

In December 2007 we underwent a re-branding exercise where we hired a software marketing specialist and conducted a major survey with our existing customers.

This week we have been busy upgrading our existing software customers to the newly launched software versions.

What branding has been done?

Well, Landlords Property Tax Manager, which we had been selling since 2003, has now been rebranded to Landlords Property Manager Professional.

And Property Portfolio Software has now been rebranded to Landlords Property Manager Regular.

Why has the software been rebranded?
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